Friday, December 31, 2004

Nurse From Hell

Today was a nightmare. Mom is still in the hospital in a town near here. This hospital does not and never has had a very good reputation. We have experienced first hand why.

First- I need to backtrack a little. This is the same hospital that mom spent those first few days in December in while waiting on her transfer. She was on a different unit then. The nurses were such wonderful people. Dad has decided that they've taken all of the nurses in the hospital that hate their job and everything else about their life and put them on the unit where she is now.

Last night I had to beg the LPN taking care of mom to call the doctor and get a pain medication order for her. The ER doctor had neglected to write one. (hello- she has cancer and just had major abdominal surgery. I think pain meds are not too much to ask) After asking several times, the nurse-from-hell decided she would call mom's doc. She told me she got an order and as soon as the pharmacy brought it up she would give them to mom. After an hour went by, I chased down NFH and she said, "Oh, I'm just so busy and so far behind in my schedule..." Finally, more than an hour after she got the order NFH took the meds to mom. By the way- she didn't actually have to wait for the pharmacy to bring them- the meds were in the drug cabinet outside of mom's room the whole time...

Adding to all of the fun- mom's roommate was a 94 year old who was just fine when her family and friends were there. As soon as her company left she constantly yelled, "NURSE!!" and turned her call light on. When someone would finally come to see what she wanted she'd tell them, "Oh, I didn't need anything...."

Today- you guessed it- NFH was back and again assigned to mom's room. She started off on the right track- Asked mom how her pain was and when the last time she had her medication was. (wouldn't she know the time by looking on the chart??) She promised her meds would be there right on time today.

I left to run some errands- Dad was there with her. They took her for a CT scan of her abdomen. They took her in a wheelchair and when they got in the CT room, they told mom to get up and climb up on the table. Correct me if I'm wrong- but is someone who cannot get out of a bed by herself really expected to be able to climb up on a table?? Then the tech doing the scan asked her if she's ever had abdominal surgery.... Umm, correct me again if I'm wrong, but shouldn't he already have this information?? When they started to run the contrast in her IV mom said she literally screamed it hurt so bad. (this is the woman who will usually grit her teeth and not say a word when she is in pain.) Their response to that was, "It can't hurt that bad. In fact it shouldn't hurt at all. Just hold your arm up in the air." Mom came back with tears running down her face and said she will never ever again consent to have a CT scan done.

On my way back to the hospital, I called Dad to see how things were going and he said they were once again trying to get NFH to give mom her pain meds. She was now almost two hours past time. I was so angry I honestly thought I was going to have a stroke driving back to the hospital.

When I got there the NFH was sitting on her ass at a computer and mom had still not had her meds. Mom didn't want anyone to complain because she was afraid she'd never get her meds if we did.

Sorry- that's BS. I went straight to the RN in charge and sweetly said," My mother has been asking for her pain meds for over two hours now. Her nurse seems to be a little busy- could you please get them for her?" Someone must've tipped off NFH, and by the time we got back to mom's room she was there getting her meds out. There was never an apology, sorry that happened, it won't happen again, nothing. At least she got her meds. At least I didn't have to scream like Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment. I sure wanted to though..........


Blogger angela marie said...

Oh Lord. Can you have her transferred to another hospital? There is no excuse for that kind of behavior. I would also tell her doctor that she had so much pain while they were infusing the contrast. The tech is right that it shouldn't be painful, but the tech is wrong not to find out WHY there is pain. Your poor mom. She is going to need more CT's and this was a horrible experience.
Praying, once again, for you all.

6:21 PM, January 02, 2005  
Blogger Jin said...

Don't be afraid to voice your grievances when it comes to your mom's health care. If I were you, I'd talk to this nurse's superiors and express your unhappiness.

Make yourself heard. Demand an improvement.

How would your mother react to this situation if you were the one in the hospital waiting for pain meds? Something tells me she wouldn't stand for it - and neither should you.

7:41 PM, January 02, 2005  
Blogger TastyKeish said...

thanks for coming by my blog. I just wanted to say that I'm sorry your mom and your family had a bad LPN, I'm an LPN and I hate to hear things like that. I've been a patient many times as well and I know pain meds are like the holy grail after surgery. So for your mom not to get them was apalling. I just wanted to apologize on behalf of all good nurses everywhere.
:) Keish

11:58 PM, January 20, 2005  
Anonymous Terri said...

I just found your blog today via Michele's....
I have to say I'm captivated with your writing and very poignant, emotional and straight-forward way of sharing this story of your mom and family.
I know the outcome...because I saw your most current entry first. But I've had to backtrack to Dec. '04 because I wanted to read your story. I'm an RN....and just wanted to say about this entry...GOOD for YOU! Your mom must have been SO proud of you for speaking up and keeping her best interest the priority. AND..just for the record...that was UNforgivable allowing a pt. to go 2 hours without a pain med. You're to be commended for staying on top of things.
I'm going to keep reading...because I can't not finish your story about your mom.

8:35 AM, September 01, 2006  

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(written September of 2005) I have learned much in the last nine months. I have read that ovarian cancer whispers. I say it screams. It just needs someone to listen. The American Cancer Society statistics for ovarian cancer estimate that there will be 22,220 new cases and 16,210 deaths in 2005. This is a death rate FOUR TIMES that of breast cancer.Almost 70 percent of women with the common epithelial ovarian cancer are not diagnosed until the disease is advanced in stage. The 5-year survival rate for these women is only 15 to 20 percent. This is unacceptable. Women need to be made more aware of the symptoms, and doctors need to listen to their patients. Especially when the patient tells them that they fear they have ovca, as my mother did for almost a year before she was finally diagnosed. It’s so sad and senseless when a woman knows the symptoms but can’t get anyone to listen to what she is saying.